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The townsite of Cervantes, a fishing settlement on the west coast near Jurien Bay and Nambung National Park, was gazetted in 1963. It is named after nearby Cervantes Islands, which in turn are named after the "Cervantes", an American whaler, wrecked just north of the islands on the 20th July 1844. The "Cervantes" was under the command of Captain Gibson at the time of the shipwreck and the survivors walked about 160 kilometres south along the coast to Fremantle. At the time of naming of the townsite it was thought that the islands had been named "Cervantes" by the Baudin Expedition of 1801-03 after a Spanish author, and, as a result, many of the streets received Spanish names.